Returning to Work After a Career Break in Tech

A Systemic Challenge for Women in Tech

2 min readDec 6, 2023

Rejoining the tech industry after a career break, especially for women, is undeniably challenging. A major roadblock is the skill gap that often develops during a break from the industry.

About 65% of women in tech say they feel a significant deficit when they return, which shows how quickly the industry evolves and how important it is to keep learning.

In addition to the skill gap, the historically male-dominated culture in tech has created obstacles for women who are returning to the workforce. Support systems, particularly mentorship and networking opportunities, are often lacking.

Photo by Christina @ on Unsplash

Several things can be done to make it easier for women to return to work in tech. These include:

Tailored support

Mentorship programs and networks designed specifically for women in tech can provide the guidance and sense of community essential for a successful return. A good example is the Wentors’s We Accelerate Program. Connecting with experienced professionals who understand the challenges firsthand can be invaluable.

Addressing biases in hiring processes

Unconscious biases can undervalue the skills and experiences of female candidates. To counter this, companies must actively work towards eliminating biases in their recruitment practices. This involves implementing training programs for hiring managers and adopting inclusive policies to create a fairer environment for women returning to the workforce.

Negotiation skills

On a personal level, negotiation skills are pivotal in ensuring fair pay upon return. Utilizing salary benchmarking tools and negotiating confidently based on industry standards and unique skills can help close the gender pay gap. Advocating for oneself and ensuring fair compensation is essential for women returning to work after a career break.

Returnship programs

Exploring returnship programs offered by tech companies committed to diversity and inclusion is a strategic move for a structured re-entry. These programs not only provide valuable industry experience but also acknowledge the unique challenges individuals face when returning to work. Companies with such initiatives understand the importance of tapping into a diverse talent pool and are more likely to provide a supportive environment for professional growth.

Strong online presence

Building a strong online presence is another effective strategy. Showcasing skills and projects on professional networking platforms like LinkedIn and actively participating in relevant online communities can help women in tech stay visible and connected.

This visibility can lead to valuable opportunities and connections within the industry.

In addition to these, it is also important to create a more family-friendly work environment that allows women to balance their careers and personal lives. This includes providing flexible work arrangements, such as telecommuting and part-time work, as well as access to childcare and other family-friendly benefits.

Through these changes, we can create a more inclusive tech industry that welcomes women of all backgrounds.




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